WHO IS SHERIFF RICHARD GIARDINO AND HOW IS HE DEALING WITH NEW YORK’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL CONCEALED HANDGUN CARRY LAW?
[NOTE TO OUR READERS: THIS ARTICLE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND WILL BE EDITED AND EXPANDED UPON IN THE DAYS AHEAD]
FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF RICHARD GIARDINO STANDS FIRM AGAINST NEW YORK’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL HANDGUN SCHEME
In the March 2023 issue of the NRA publication, “America’s 1st Freedom,” the Arbalest Quarrel, in its daily review of publications, came across an article titled, “Shooting Straight with Sheriff Richard Giardino,” by Frank Miniter, Editor in Chief of the magazine.
The NRA published the article in the form of a straightforward question-answer interview.
The NRA contacted Sheriff Giardino to get his take on a pressing matter affecting law enforcement in New York: the impact of the Hochul Government’s amendments to New York’s Handgun Law, the deceptively named “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” (“CCIA”), and its impact on policing.
That was what NRA’s Frank Miniter wanted to know. That is what we wanted to know.
The NRA said this about Sheriff Giardino:
“As an elected official, Sheriff Giardino doesn’t mind being in front of the cameras. But I [the NRA Editor in Chief, Frank Miniter] also found him to be a serious and humble official. He listens. He thinks of the people first. He next thinks of his deputies and the other employees he manages. Finally, he responds based on his long experience. And he does have a lot of legal experience.
Sheriff Giardino graduated in 1984 from Albany Law School. While in college and law school, he served as a part-time police officer. After law school, he was hired as an assistant district attorney in Nassau County, N.Y. In 1986, he returned to Fulton County as an assistant district attorney and, in 1991, he was elected to be the second-youngest district attorney in the state. In 1996, he was appointed by New York’s governor to be a county court judge. In this role, he was a local licensing official for concealed-carry permits in what was then a ‘may-issue’ state, but he behaved as if he was in a “shall-issue” state. He served 18 years as a judge. In that time, he tried over 200 cases, including over 40 murder or attempted-murder cases.
Of course, as with anyone we interview, Sheriff Giardino’s opinions are his own. I [Frank Miniter] point this out because, as he is a county sheriff in a state run by a governor who sees the Second Amendment as a problem, Giardino does find himself in some uncomfortable legal positions. He has to abide by the state laws, but he also raised his right hand and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and lately—again, thanks to officials such as Gov. Hochul—those two things have come into conflict. This conundrum puts him—as well as many other law-enforcement officials and citizens who simply want to exercise their rights in various states and jurisdictions around the country—in some legally problematic situations.”
The “Leader-Herald” newspaper, in a January 23, 2023 article, added this about Sheriff Giardino:
“Giardino, a 64-year-old Republican, first ran for countywide office in 1991. He is the only person in New York state history to have served as a county district attorney, county judge and county sheriff, having won eight consecutive countywide elections.”
These articles by the NRA and the Leader Herald newspaper whet our appetite to learn more about this intriguing, and highly learned man. And so, we got in touch with Sheriff Giardino.
Thinking that we intended to employ a basic question/answer interview approach, as the NRA did, we instead pointed out that we wished to engage Sheriff Giardino in an informal, open-ended conversation, as that would be less constraining and, we felt, more productive.
We spent substantial time talking to him, gaining insightful knowledge from the perspective of a man who deals, on a daily basis, with the practical problems associated with the CCIA and with the problems attendant to policing.
This article segment and the segments to follow are a distillation of our talks with Sheriff Giardino, presented in the context of our own work, apropos of the Arbalest Quarrel’s raison d’être: to preserve, protect, and defend the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution from all threats to it from forces both here and abroad aligned against the sovereignty of the American people.
We learned a lot about and from this man, and he, in turn, learned a lot about and from us at the Arbalest Quarrel.
Sheriff Giardino’s philosophy pertaining to the import and purport of the Bill of Rights, and his socio-political attitude and stance apropos of the threats that face our Country today, are on all fours with our own.
Sheriff Giardino’s adoration for our Constitution—especially for the natural law right to armed self-defense as codified in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of a Free Constitutional Republic, the foundation of the sovereignty of the American people over Government, and the source of our Nation’s greatness, strength.
Through what the NRA and the Leader Herald newspaper say, we add a point derived from our own conversations with Sheriff Giardino.
The Sheriff’s service to the Fulton County community means service to the U.S. Constitution. And what Sheriff Giardino means by “service to the U.S. Constitution” is no small matter.
Service to the U.S. Constitution is what his job is all about. And the Rights contained in it are not to be dismissed.
Those Rights are not—as many politicians argue, and as the legacy Press echoes—to be construed as some sort of archaic, mutable appendix to the Articles, to be constrained, modified, abrogated, or ignored because, to some, those rights don’t cohere with the current fad or fashion.
The Bill of Rights is a codification of natural law.
The Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution are not man-made constructs. These Rights are not subject to modification, alteration, abrogation, obliteration, or perfunctory dismissal. These Rights are not attendant to a particular time and place. They are eternal, and they reside in man, as bestowed on man by the Divine Creator. That is how the framers of the Constitution understood them and that, in fact, is what they are.
That is our position and that is Sheriff Giardino’s position.
It is the very sanctity, strength, and enduring power of the Bill of Rights that drives the would-be Destroyers of our Country to mount an incessant and aggressive campaign against it.
Without the exercise of these cherished rights and liberties, our free Republic would cease to exist. But then, that is the aim of those ruthless forces that intend to eliminate their exercise of them: to dismantle a free Constitutional Republic and the sovereignty of the people. These malevolent forces intend to create a completely different sort of socio, political, economic, and juridical framework—one antithetical to the Government the framers of the U.S. Constitution created for themselves and for their descendants. It is one where the people are seen as subservient to the Government, not the masters of and over the Government.
Of all the fundamental, unalienable rights, the right of the people to keep and bear arms—the right to armed self-defense against lowly creatures, aggressive men, and tyrannical Government—is absolutely essential to the preservation of a free Constitutional Republic and the supremacy of the American citizenry over Government.
Without the force of arms, this Country, as an independent, sovereign Nation-State and free Republic, could not exist; nor can our Republic persist through time if the citizen is denied access to firearms and ammunition.
The conservative wing of the U.S. Supreme Court knows this to be true. Sheriff Giardino knows this to be true. And we know this to be true. Yet, many Americans in the Federal and State Governments, including the New York State Government do not know this to be so, or, otherwise, choose to ignore Truth, because it is counter to their running narrative and to their agenda. They, therefore, deny the TRUTH, outright.
And, that has placed Sheriff Giardino and others in law enforcement, in a bind: Either uphold recent law that contradicts the Bill of Rights or uphold the Truth of the Bill of Rights and incur the wrath of “woke” leadership.
This isn’t an academic matter. It is playing out now, and most acutely, in New York.
The Hochul Government has placed Sheriff Giardino like his fellow Sheriffs in a difficult position.
How does law enforcement chart a course between a transitory, ill-conceived man-made handgun law, the CCIA on the one hand, with man’s fundamental, unalienable, unalterable, eternal, immutable, natural law right to armed self-defense, codified in the Second Amendment?
How does Sheriff Giardino “square that circle.” That question was the focus of our conversation with him, and it raised a host of questions and concerns that we dealt with in depth during our conversations with him.
“DISCRETION” IS THE MECHANISM NEW YORK FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF RICHARD GIARDINO UTILIZES TO DEAL WITH NEW YORK’S INTRACTABLE CONCEALED CARRTY IMPROVEMENT ACT (“CCIA”)
The CCIA is the Hochul Government’s response to the June 23, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA vs. Bruen.
The Hochul Government fabricated the CCIA to defy and defeat the High Court rulings in Bruen that reinforce the natural law right to armed self-defense.
How does a law enforcement officer square enforcement of the CCIA when that enforcement conflicts with the language of the Second Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court rulings?
This is what we wanted to obtain Sheriff Giardino’s thoughts on, as did NRA’s Editor in Chief of the NRA publication, “America’s 1st Freedom,” that preceded our own conversations with Sheriff Giardino. What we learned from the interview that NRA’s Editor in Chief conducted with Sheriff Giardino became the springboard for further explication of the Sheriff’s thoughts on the CCIA, the U.S. Constitution and Second Amendment, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, attacks on police, and violent crime in New York.
In his interview with Sheriff Giardino, NRA’s Frank Miniter asked the Sheriff point blank: “Will you enforce New York’s concealed carry restrictions?”
Without pause and in no uncertain terms, the Sheriff responded,
“I raised my right hand to uphold the constitution. Now the governor of New York wants me to break that oath. Law enforcement has been placed in an untenable position of enforcing laws that we might believe are unconstitutional. As a former judge and district attorney, I still have my law license. My legal experience tells me that many provisions of this new gun-control law are unconstitutional. So, given all of that, I see the law here in a state of flux and we have a tremendous amount of discretion as to what we enforce. So, we’re going to use our discretion. We’re not going to just arrest someone who carries concealed into a barbershop he has been going to his entire life. We’ll inform the person what the law [CCIA] now says, and then we’ll focus our resources on actual criminals.”
The issue of police “discretion” is something the NRA glossed over, perhaps given time constraints or publishing restrictions. Yet, to our mind, the point of “discretion” in light of the CCIA is of paramount importance to a consideration of the daily dilemma law enforcement officers are confronted with, especially when they must make a split-second decision.
The NRA interviewer did not pursue what Sheriff Giardino meant by “discretion” and Andrew Waite, a columnist for the Daily Gazette newspaper, whom Sheriff Giardino also spoke with, misconstrued what Sheriff Giardino meant by the term.
The use of discretion in policing does not give carte blank authority to law enforcement. And Sheriff Giardino is not saying here or implying that he can do whatever he wants.
The columnist for the Daily Gazette, Andrew Waite, incorrectly interpreted Sheriff Giardino as inferring, erroneously, that,
“The sheriff is absolutely entitled to choose how to enforce just about any rule.”
No! Sheriff Giardino is not saying or suggesting that. Rather, he is pointing to a confounding box the CCIA places him in and the way—the only way—he can extricate himself from it without offending the U.S. Constitution. Sheriff Giardino took an oath to enforce the U.S. Constitution. He did not take an oath to enforce the CCIA.
The CCIA is codified in State Statute, Section 400. That is the State’s handgun law. It is therefore a component of the Consolidated Laws of New York.
A State Statute is not in any manner to be construed as part of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, a State Statute doesn’t stand on the same footing as a State Constitution.
The New York State Constitution stands above State Statute in prominence and authority. And, the U.S. Constitution stands above both State Statute and State Constitution, except where the doctrine of Federalism gives the States complementary power or powers that reside exclusively with the States that the Federal Government is not permitted to intrude upon.
Sheriff Giardino is told to enforce New York law, but he must also enforce the Constitution of the United States, consistent with his oath. And where the two collide, the U.S. Constitution dictates his actions. That is an unalterable, inescapable TRUTH.
Where the CCIA conflicts with the U.S. Constitution, Sheriff Giardino says he must adhere to the Constitution.
Where the CCIA doesn’t make clear his duties or where there doesn’t seem to be a clear conflict with the Constitution, then he will use his discretion to chart a proper course, guided, all the while, by the Second Amendment guarantee.
That is the import of Sheriff Giardino’s assertion, that——
“I see the law [the CCIA] here in a state of flux and we have a tremendous amount of discretion as to what we enforce.”
The CCIA is a logical, legal, and logistical mess, a quagmire, manufactured by the Hochul Government to serve an agenda, one antagonistic to the right of the people to keep and bear arms, a right that shall not be infringed. And, since all or part of the CCIA will, at some point in time be overturned either by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit or by the U.S. Supreme Court, as litigation is ongoing at this time, that is the “state of flux” that Sheriff Giardino is referring to.
Law enforcement officials, like Sheriff Giardino, cannot extricate themselves easily from this morass but must contend with it.
The application of “broad discretion” to deal effectively with a multiplicity of contingencies and complexities is necessitated by the inherent illegality of the salient portions of the CCIA.
Further, the inscrutability of some of its sections, and internal inconsistencies along with inconsistencies with other portions of New York law and inconsistencies with the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, apart from the CCIA’s inherent inconsistency with the Second, abound. That is why we call the CCIA a mess.
Sheriff Giardino’s actions must therefore be nuanced. But, where conflict is clear, i.e., where illegal constraints on the exercise of armed self-defense are acute and blatant, then he will enforce the U.S. Constitution, not the CCIA.
As Sheriff Giardino says,
“The fact that there are currently more than a dozen State and Federal Lawsuits at various stages in the litigation process in New York, over the new CCIA, can be very confusing, especially to those people who presently hold valid concealed handgun carry licenses.*
And this confusion will continue to exist until, ultimately, the US Supreme Court decides, supports, and defends my decision to exercise broad discretion in favor of law-abiding citizens.”
Adding to this awful burden there is a bitter irony.
Sheriff Giardino points out that “on any given weekend, criminals, who can’t lawfully possess firearms, use firearms and, especially handguns, to commit dozens of robberies, murders, and attempted murders. Bear in mind that the chances that a holder of a valid concealed handgun carry license will use that handgun or any firearm in a crime is less than 1/6 of 1%, based on national studies.” So, ask yourself: ‘how many criminals will be adhering to Hochul’s new CCIA?”
And to add insult to injury, Sheriff Giardino exclaims,
“‘The Concealed Carry Improvement Act’ criminalizes conduct that, under the original New York handgun law, the law in place prior to September 1, 2022, the day the CCIA took effect, was legal.”
The CCIA is simply a clever ruse——
- The CCIA is a scheme designed to further the Government agenda while giving lip service to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Bruen.
- The CCIA further constrains the average law-abiding, responsible, rational citizen, who happens to reside and/or work in the State, from exercising his natural law right to armed self-defense.
- The CCIA does nothing to curb the misuse of firearms by the psychopathic criminal element running amok throughout the State, most noticeably in New York City.
The Daily Gazette columnist Andrew Waite doesn’t weigh in on any of this because he doesn’t truly understand the nature of the issues, or, otherwise, he doesn’t even begin to perceive a problem.
Like most newspaper reporters and columnists, Waite sees “gun rights” vs. “gun control”/“gun safety” as a legitimate issue because politicians and news people manufacture that issue. But it has no substance. It is a fabrication, an illusion, a makeweight.
There is the natural law right to armed self-defense. That is a fact.
But those who abhor firearms and who fear and detest Americans who keep and bear them and who wish firearms and the right to keep and bear them would just go away, perpetrate and perpetuate a phantom issue, and thrust that specter on the public.
These same people also deny the existence of natural law rights. They see the Bill of Rights as man-made artifices, no different than any other law, and therefore subject to modification or abrogation like any other law when whim dictates.
They see people like Sheriff Giardino as driving a wedge between those Americans who desire to exercise their natural law right to armed self-defense and those who wish to severely constrain the exercise of the right or eliminate it.
Yet, Sheriff Giardino is doing no such thing.
Andrew Waite infers, oddly, that application of police discretion is less the result of a failure of the Government to acknowledge the right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of self and in defense of innocent others, and to guard against the tyranny of Government, and more a personal predilection that causes consternation among those who abhor firearms and who hold disdain toward those Americans who do choose to exercise their natural law right.
He says, in his article, supra: “But even gun-rights advocates who support Giardino’s positions on this issue should be worried about the ways in which a local sheriff’s discretion may only serve to further drive us apart.”
Who are these “gun-rights advocates” that Waite refers to? Waite doesn’t say.
Anyway, his remark is irrelevant, even discordant.
It’s a logical red herring, introduced by unscrupulous politicians, and echoed by those in the legacy Press and social media, whether knowingly or not, to confound the public.
Andrew Waite is right in the groove, reflexively singing a refrain piped into his psyche and then transmitted to millions of Americans.
It is all projection, the product of an elaborate campaign of psychological conditioning, disbursed on an industrial scale, touching every part of the Country.
Waite’s remark also shows a misunderstanding of the salient duty of all law enforcement officers.
As Sheriff Giardino stated clearly, succinctly, and categorically in the Daily Gazette article, and as he has reiterated for those who do not understand:
The duty of a law-enforcement officer is to “uphold the constitution.” That is the oath law enforcement officers swear to. That is and must be the predicate basis for and guiding principle for all his conduct in the field.
Yet, in a Nation where the U.S. Constitution is routinely ignored, dismissed, deliberately misread, or even slammed and denigrated, there is, in that, for many, explanation enough explanation.
That is how something as poisonous as New York’s “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” comes to be conceived, drafted, passed, and signed into law, and then, exalted as a fine, proper, and good thing.
In a Country turned upside down and inside out, law enforcement officers like Sheriff Giardino must perforce contend with a situation that Government throws him into. It isn’t one of his own makings, but that of Hochul and the Democrat-Party-controlled Legislature in Albany, and the secretive powers behind both that have engineered the destruction of our Country.
Is Andrew Waite even aware of this?
The reporter for the Daily Gazette falls into the very trap that many reporters and columnists fall into, viewing fundamental, immutable natural law rights as a matter of public opinion and failing to grasp that some rights are not a matter of natural law, but are merely man-made constructs.
The public’s reaction to the Dobbs “abortion” case is a prime example of this.
Andrew Waite writes,
“With diametrically opposed laws and individualized interpretations of how to enforce those laws, it can be hard to know which way is up, and which way is down. Amid the confusion and the divergent standards, we become even more divided, and our positions can become even more extreme.”
A person becomes lost when he is unaware of or fails to follow the proper guideposts. Such is the case presented above.
In the matter of fundamental rights, a person’s guide is the U.S. Constitution. It has always been thus, and must always be so.
The Dobbs case is inapposite because “abortion” isn’t a fundamental right. It isn’t natural law.
It is a man-made artifice, a judge-made right, fabricated as a matter of convenience, because the U.S. Supreme Court was, at the time, apparently, too afraid to acknowledge that the issue of abortion is not a Federal Constitutional issue. It is merely a matter for public debate, and as such, it should be left to the States to determine how each wishes to treat abortion. And, no the U.S. Supreme Court has done just that. It leaves the matter to the States to work out.
But many Americans don’t see this. The Press doesn’t allow them to see this, but, disreputably, stirs up conflict as does Congress.
The public gets caught up in a maelstrom of confusion, anxiety, and rage deliberately fomented by politicians and vociferously magnified by the Press, relying on incessant sloganeering and messaging, at once vacuous and malevolent.
Many Americans fall for the garbled nonsense visited upon them by unscrupulous politicians, and then amplified through social media and the Press. The results are dangerous, reverberating throughout the Nation, causing discord, social instability, and violence, none of which is unanticipated, but all calibrated to attain the end goal:
The annihilation of an independent sovereign Nation, a free Republic, and a free and sovereign citizenry.
*The Arbalest Quarrel has written extensively on both the parent U.S. Supreme Court case, NYSRPA vs. Bruen, and on Post-Bruen New York cases and we are keeping track of the progress of the litigation. To date, we have published over 40 articles on these cases.
See, e.g., our article, posted on the AQ website on October 22, 2022, pertaining to the New York Government’s interlocutory appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, requesting the High Court to lift the Stay on enforcement of the CCIA during the pendency of the lawsuit in Antonyuk vs. Hochul.
The Antonyuk case was subsequently recaptioned, Antonyuk vs. Nigrelli when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York dismissed Governor Hochul from the lawsuit.
Steven Nigrelli is the new “Acting” Superintendant of the New York State Police, appointed by Governor Hochul. Steven Nigrelli replaces both the Governor and Kevin Bruen, as the principal named Party Defendant, the latter of whom was the previous Superintendant of the New York State Police, appointed by Kathy Hochul’s predecessor, Governor Andrew Cuomo. See the AQ article posted on January 2, 2023.
Copyright © 2023 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.
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